Coming from BlissPop, I was looking to test a ROM packed with features. After thorough research on XDA, I came across CarbonRom. I had never heard of it, but its factsheet seemed really interesting so I decided to give it a go!
CarbonROM is based both on CyanogenMod and Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
I flashed the nightly build from June, 1st, 2015 and downloaded the Slim GApps that are provided by the developer. As for the kernel, Boeffla seems to be recommended by both the developer and the users. If you are using a more recent nightly, your experience could be completely different from mine.
Beginning with CarbonROM
I was originally planning on using MultiROM to flash CarbonROM, but I soon found myself stuck in a bootloop. Deception put apart, I flashed it as my primary ROM. If you are into minimalism, chances are high that you will enjoy the boot animation as I did. It is refined and very slick, all in black and white. If only everything in that rom could be that well designed! I then proceeded to enter my PIN Code, but I had to try two times as this step was extremely buggy: I had to wait about three seconds between typing each number on the screen or else it wouldn’t appear. This bug has happened to me every single time i had to turn off and on my phone. This was my first big disappointment, and unfortunately, not the last.
UI Feel and Smoothness
The first thing I noticed was the slowness as I scrolled between screens. I put it on the account of the phone still initializing, but five minutes after it still felt laggy. It wasn’t really bad, I could live with it, but it certainly annoyed me. It always had that little shift whenever I opened an app or navigated through the menus that was really bugging me. The multi-tasking wasn’t great either. I’ve had apps crashing a lot, especially Snapchat and Facebook, when I jumped between them. Thanks to Dax and Swirly (you wouldn’t believe it, but they’re actually full of amazing advices), I managed to solve that issue by tweaking the animation scale in the developer settings. By default, they’re settled at 1x, but choosing .5x makes the phone feel much more responsive and smooth! To be completely honest, I have to say that this lagging no longer annoyed me after a few days. I’m not quite sure if it resolved itself on his own or if I got used to it, but in the end I didn’t really notice it anymore. Facebook and Snapchat kept crashing from time to time, especially when opening a link in Facebook or navigating through the « Discover » menu in Snapchat. Nothing really fixed that, so I just took the habit of opening links in Chrome directly. However, I’ve never experienced a crash or a slow down while playing any game. My brother spent a couple hours playing HearthStone on my phone and gave it back to me thrilled, saying that the game was faster than on our computer. The phone did get hot really fast though.
I use my phone a lot, and it spends all day with WiFi and data on. I go on Facebook and Tumblr, I often forget to close the 1+1 forum though the app is a battery sucker, I sometimes play games like Chaos Rings and Final Fantasy, I wake my phone every five minutes to send/answer to texts and messages… As you understood, I’m usually a heavy user. To that extend, battery life is primordial for me. And I must say that i was not disappointed by CarbonROM: most days, I was able to get about 4h30 SOT. That’s not exceptional, but it’s still a pretty decent score in my opinion, mainly if you consider both my use and the fact that during the whole week I did not use once Greenify or any similar application.
Feature and Customizability
If there is one thing that is extremely good in this ROM, it’s the customizability. You can tweak with absolutely everything. And I’m not kidding : it took me more than one hour to test everything. From the basic CM features to SlimPie, there is everything you could possibly hope for. If you like your phone personalized to the max, I’m pretty sure this ROM’s features will feel like Heaven. On the other hand, if you like to keep it simple, you may get lost in the settings! It’s always interesting to note that CarbonROM also beneficiates of the Omni Wake Lock Blocker, but unfortunately lacks Viper4Android which is replaced by AudioFX Equalizer, but you can always install V4A yourself.
You can find the list of the features on CarbonRom official thread on XDA : click here
Overall Impression and Stability
CarbonROM could have been overall a decent ROM. Yes, it does run a bit slow, but it’s bearable. Yes, I experienced some crashes, but who doesn’t? The features amazed me and the battery was good. However, one thing made me lose it all week, cursing at my phone and considering suicide: the random reboots. Let me tell you one thing: I have never, NEVER experienced so many reboots. After five days with CarbonRom, I had NINE reboots. Almost two a day. I think it speaks for itself.
I would like to tell you to try CarbonROM if you’re attracted to customizability because it’s packed with wonderful stuff. I’d like to tell you that the reboots are just a detail and you can still have a good time with this ROM. But I can’t: NO ONE wants to see their phone randomly turn off in the middle of writing an important email or phone call with your sister. I literally had vertigo each time my phone froze for a few seconds, praying it won’t reboot. Move along people, you’d better try Resurrection Remix, Cyanide, BlissPop or BrokenOS: these three will bring you the same features as CarbonRom, but also a way better experience.
(Written by Louise Broyer)
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